Many people think they are prepared for an emergency because they have a large stash of food and guns, but there is a lot more that goes into being prepared. I know when I started out, I fell victim to this thought. There are many common mistakes preppers make. Here are a few of the most important ones to be aware of and how to fix it if you realize you’ve been making them.
The most vital mistake preppers make is not preparing for the right situation. Many preppers think they need to prepare for the apocalypse or some other freak event and when the likely earthquakes or wildfires come they aren’t ready. Someone who is really prepared has what they need to get themselves through even these little events. Knowing your area is the easiest way to overcome this mistake. Most cities have an emergency preparedness site with tips for your specific area. It’s not impossible for catastrophic events to happen, but the smart prepper is ready for what could happen tomorrow and not in hundreds of years.
Another huge mistake that is made is not having all the skills necessary to survive. Preppers tend to think having food and gear is all they need to be prepared, but those things only last so long. Food will run out and then you are on your own. You need to know how to grow crops and hunt in order to provide for your family. Being able to defend yourself is another life or death skill most people overlook. This is more than just having guns and ammunition. You need to be able to properly use it and so should your family or others you plan to be around in an emergency.
Along with defense, treatment of injuries or disease often get overlooked. There may not be anyone within miles to help you if something goes wrong and you don’t want to get infected or just sit around weak and useless. A first aid kit would be the first place to start, but ACLS recertification, or certification if you don’t have it yet, is also a good step. For those that don’t know what that is, ACLS stands for advanced cardiac life support and teaches how to deal with cardiac arrest and other life threatening medical emergencies. Becoming certified in this and other life-saving courses, such as CPR, you should be more prepared than many others in the same situation.
When it comes to food, there are a few common mistakes among preppers. Stockpiling the wrong items is a big one. Most people like to stock up on items that last a while, like SPAM or MREs, but we aren’t usually used to eating these things. When it’s time to actually eat these, no one wants to because they never have before. Buy things you know you will eat or try to start implementing them into your diet now. If you know that you want to grow a certain crop come doomsday, start making recipes with that in it now, so when the time comes, everyone is used to it. Store what you eat, but also eat what you store. A lot of times people store the food away for an emergency and don’t look at it ever again, but you should be rotating pieces in and out. Eat things before they are going to expire and replace them with something new. Otherwise, it’s just a huge waste of money and you end up without anything edible come emergency time.
Storage is another mistake preppers make. Many people have all their food in the same place, but you shouldn’t do this. If something were to happen to the area of your house where you store everything, you would lose it all. Keep some of it inside the house, other stuff in the garage, some at a storage unit, and even some in the dog house. This way if something were to happen to one area, you won’t lose everything. It’s almost inevitable that one of your stockpiles will get ruined, so don’t be disappointed and have more to go to. There are also some elemental factors that play into storing food. You can read about them here.
A mistake that doesn’t have to do with supplies or skills people tend to make is trying to do everything on their own. Preppers get this mindset that they have to keep to themselves and prepare for everyone to turn against them. Use the community of other like-minded individuals to support you before and after an emergency. You can learn valuable information from others and form alliances. If something were to happen, you would have this group to fall back on for help with food, shelter, and defense. Find those who are also preparing for the worst by telling those you trust what you are doing or finding a support group. There are many out there who also prep, you just don’t know it yet.
There are many more common mistakes, but if you fix these areas most of us struggle with, I guarantee you’ll be a more successful prepper.
Ryan is an emergency preparedness blogger who is passionate about helping others prepare for the worst. Follow Ryan on Twitter, @ryan_thompson03, for more emergency preparedness tips.